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Bulls' Nikola Vucevic fights back tears as he reflects on Magic tenure

Vucevic became overwhelmed with emotions as he described his feelings about Orlando.

Nikola Vucevic arrived in Orlando in 2012 and was traded to Chicago at the 2021 trade deadline.

It’s safe to say Nikola Vucevic will miss Orlando beyond the palm trees and warm weather.

During his first virtual news conference as a Chicago Bull, Vucevic became deeply emotional as he reflected on his nine seasons with the Magic.

“To me, the hardest part was just the people,” Vucevic said, stammering and fighting back tears. “Over nine years, you’re going to meet a lot of great people. That was just the hardest for me, just leaving that place. Obviously, it meant a lot to me. Like I said, I came as a kid and left as a man. I guess you guys know the answer with my reaction. Leaving that place after so many years obviously was hard.”

As one of the pieces involved in the Dwight Howard trade, Vucevic became the organization’s most productive player for nearly a decade. He established himself as one of the best centers in the league and earned a pair of All-Star selections in the process.

The 30-year-old averaged 17.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game throughout his Orlando tenure.

Earlier this season, Vucevic fueled a Magic comeback victory with a career-high 43 points to go along with 19 rebounds. The performance ironically came against the Bulls, a franchise he is now tasked with helping reach the postseason for the first time since 2017.